Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth

Consequences of Tooth Loss.If you have lost any of your teeth, you no doubt realize there are consequences to living without them: Your smile may not look the way you want it to; eating, speaking and intimacy may be more difficult; and your self-confidence may fade. Though serious, these are not the only impacts. There are hidden consequences of losing teeth that affect not only your appearance but also your health.

Importantly, a loss of jawbone inevitably follows tooth loss. Bone needs stimulation to maintain its form and density. In the case of the jawbone, that stimulation comes from the teeth, which make hundreds of fleeting contacts with each other throughout the day. The small stresses produced by these contacts are transmitted to the bone, prompting it to regenerate constantly. When a tooth is lost, the stimulation it provided disappears. In just the first year of tooth loss, there is a 25% decrease in bone width. This is followed over the next few years by an overall 4 millimeters decrease in height. If enough teeth are lost, and as bone loss continues, the distance from nose to chin can decrease and the lower third of the face partially collapses. With a lack of structural support, the lips sag; that's why toothless people often appear unhappy. Also, extreme loss of bone can make an individual more prone to jaw fractures.

You may also find that some of your remaining teeth actually shift into the spaces left open by your missing teeth. This in turn can cause additional bite problems and even jaw joint (TMJ) pain. Finally, compromised nutrition and poor general health can result if eating healthy foods like raw fruits and vegetables becomes too difficult without teeth.

Now here's the good news: Dental implants — the state-of-the-art tooth-replacement method preferred by dentists — can prevent all this.

How Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss

Dental Implants 101.Besides helping a person without teeth look and feel great again, dental implants actually prevent bone loss. That's because they are made of titanium, which has a unique ability to fuse to living bone. By actually becoming a permanent part of the jawbone, dental implants stabilize and stimulate the bone to maintain its volume and density.

Dental implants are placed during a minor surgical procedure using local anesthetic and then, after a healing period, topped with a lifelike dental crown. Together, these precision components look, feel and function exactly like your natural teeth. Dental implant success rates exceed 95% — the highest of any tooth-replacement option.

Other Options for Tooth Replacement

Other than dental implants, your tooth-replacement options include fixed bridgework that incorporates or uses the adjacent teeth, and removable dentures. You should be aware, however, that the disadvantage of both of these options is that they may damage the anatomical structures on which they rest. For example, fixed bridges rely on support from two adjacent, possibly healthy teeth, which must be filed down and capped; this can make them susceptible to decay and root canal problems. Removable partial dentures hook onto existing teeth, which may become loose over time. And full dentures press on the bony ridges that used to support the teeth, accelerating the bone loss that began when the teeth were lost in the first place.

The above tooth-replacement options are all less expensive than dental implants, but only when viewed in the short term. Since bridgework and dentures may cause new problems and will likely need replacement themselves, they don't offer the same long-term value. When viewed as an enduring investment in your comfort, health and well-being, implants offer the best return by far.

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What Our Clients Say About Us

    Very friendly and Helpful

    I recently moved here from Green Bay where I had the same dentist for many years. He set the standard high for tooth care. We searched around this area and talked to patients from several dental offices to see what they had to say. The comments about Dr. Jamie at Two Rivers Family Dental were very good so we decided to give them a try. I came in with necessary dental work needing to be done and the normal amount of anxiety with it. I am happy to say we, "nailed it" with our choice. Dr. Jamie and her assistant Laurie could not be more thorough, personal and educational as she proceeds which helps me relax (somewhat-along with a little laughing gas)! The office from the minute you walk in till you leave is very friendly and helpful if I have any questions. She met the standard we were used to and I recommend her to everyone!!

    Sharon B. November 19th 2020

    Emergency Care

    I had an emergency for my tooth today. Two Rivers Family Dental got me in right away and the staff was fantastic!! Made me feel very comfortable! Thank you Dr. Hansen.

    Katie R. August 17th 2017

    "I can smile again"

    My teeth were in terrible shape and plus I did have one broken off ….I did not want to smile at all ….after Dr. Hansen finished fixing my teeth I can smile again... thank You Dr. Hansen and all your staff for helping me smile again.

    Joyce M. December 19th 2018

    Julie Knows Insurance

    Great dental hygienist in Tracy and fine dental work done by Dr. Hansen. Julie knows insurance better than anyone!

    Barb W. April 25th 2018

    Kind and Respectful

    I had recently got a check up and I needed a filing. They were kind and displayed the up most respectful manner in making my dental experience a positive one. I will continue to be a patient of The Two Rivers Family Dental.

    Rebecca M. Febuary 6th 2018